We had a visit during our current PADI IDC today from the PADI Regional Manager to present me with two awards. Andy came by the dive centre to present me with the two highest awards in the PADI system – Elite 300 Instructor, and Platinum PADI Course Director !
The Elite 300 Instructor award is the highest award in the Elite Instructor programme. This is awarded to PADI Instructors who certify three hundred or more students in a calendar year. For 2016 there were seventy-five PADI Instructors worldwide who achieved this milestone.
The Platinum PADI Course Director rating is the highest rating a PADI Course Director can earn – the highest level of PADI Instructor ! It is awarded to the top Course Directors around the world who issue a certain number of PADI Instructor-level certifications each year. For 2017, there were less than one hundred Course Directors globally who reached this landmark.
Here’s to a busy 2017 and more PADI awards to come next year !
Choosing where to take your PADI IDC can prove a little daunting at first – there are many places offering the PADI Instructor Development Course, so how exactly do you choose your PADI IDC ? Here’s a few things to consider and questions to ask…
One factor to consider is how experienced is the person who will be teaching your PADI IDC. But what is experience and how is it measured ? For some people it’s just a case of asking ‘how long have you been a Course Director ?’. But really, it goes a little deeper than this. Time is a consideration, but it’s also good to know in which locations the Course Director has worked before – have they only taught in one location, or do they have experience of conducting PADI courses and skills in different locations with different water conditions and logistics ? Have they taught in cold and warm water ? Have they taught skills on wall dives, or just shallow sandy sites ? Do they have any experience teaching in strong currents ? It might also be worth checking if the Course Director will be teaching the whole course, or using less experienced IDC Staff Instructors to do the teaching, and if the Course Director advertised on the website is the same one that will be running the course.
Questions to ask:
How long has the Course Director been conducting PADI IDCs ?
When did the Course Director become a Divemaster and an Instructor ?
Does the Course Director have the ‘Platinum’ rating ?
Will the Course Director teach the whole IDC ?
Where has the Course Director worked before, both as a Course Director and as an Instructor ?
How many students has the Course Director certified – both at recreational and professional levels ? And can I see a copy of their Student Count report ?
It’s important to know what facilities the dive centre that you are considering has. Do they have a comfortable, air-conditioned classroom ? Tropical destinations are very popular for PADI IDCs, and you want to make sure you will be comfortable in the classroom as that’s where the majority of course time is spent. You should also find out where the confined water and open water training will take place. Does the centre have a pool, and how suitable for training is it ? If for example the pool is too shallow it would be problematic to teach something like a hover, or 5 point descent without touching the bottom, where plenty of depth is required – a purpose built dive pool is ideal, with at least 4 metres depth. You should look for a PADI Career Development Centre (CDC) – this is the highest level dive centre can earn based on their facilities, number of professional certifications, and they must have two Course Directors on staff. PADI CDC training facilities also focus on professional level courses and have lots of experience running these higher level courses.
Questions to ask:
Do you have an air-conditioned classroom ?
How big is the classroom and how many candidates do you usually have per IDC ?
Do you have an on-site pool ?
How deep is the pool ?
Before you sign-up for an IDC, you should also make yourself aware of the time commitment required. In accordance with PADI standards, an IDC can be taught in as little as seven days. Many PADI IDC centres offer course over nine or ten days, however this usually translates to long days in the classroom – sometimes twelve hours. There is a lot of information to take in during an IDC, plus you need to prepare for the next day after finishing. It is possible to find extended, more relaxed PADI IDCs where your day will finish around 4pm – giving you plenty of time to prepare your presentations for the next day, eat a good meal and relax a little. A 12 day IDC programme is ideal – any longer and you are losing time that you could be certified and teaching your own students with. With a relaxed 12 day IDC, you arrive at the Instructor Examination feeling relaxed and confident rather than stressed and tired. These longer IDC programmes typically include extra workshops and extra presentation practice, rather than just hitting the minimum training requirements set out by PADI. Ask to have a look at the schedule…
Questions to ask:
How long is the IDC programme ?
Are there any extra workshops ?
Are any Specialty Instructor ratings included ?
Do you conduct a ‘Mock I.E.’ ?
How many teaching presentations will I deliver ?
What time does each day start and finish ?
The location is perhaps the least important of these factors to consider, but it’s still something to think about. Most of an IDC is spent in the classroom, but it is nice to be able to go diving before or after the IDC to relax underwater with some mantas or sharks. Also, after the IDC has finished, you will need to wait a week or so for your paperwork to be processed before you can start teaching. This is the perfect time to take some Specialty Instructor Training and learn even more. If this is something you’re considering, think about which Specialties you would like to teach. If you want to become an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor, you need to be somewhere that offers current, if you want to teach the Wreck Diver Specialty, you would need a location with a wreck. Also find out if the Course Director has written any Distinctive Specialities, or can offer any unique Specialty instructor training which will help your CV stand out when applying for jobs. Some places, such as Phuket, are very fortunate in that they can offer conditions and dive sites conducive for teaching most Specialties. And if you are looking to gain these extra qualifications, find out if the Course Director will be diving with you, or just asking a less experienced IDC Staff Instructor to do these dives instead.
Questions to ask:
Do you offer any free diving before or after the IDC ?
The PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) is an intensive programme, usually lasting around twelve days. There is a lot of new information and knowledge to take in during this time-frame, and your course will be a lot easier if you are not also trying to re-learn things that you should already know as a PADI Divemaster.
Your IDC training will be much more relaxed, and the IE will be much easier, if you are comfortable with dive theory and a few other things before you arrive. You will spend time during the IDC going through this, and completing more dive theory exams, but there will also be a lot more information for you to take in, and most nights you will have teaching presentations to prepare after a full day in the classroom. I like to give my candidates a set of dive theory exams on the first day of the IDC, and I would expect everyone to be able to pass with a minimum score of 75% in each of the five subjects – Physics, Physiology, Equipment, Dive Skills & The Environment, and The RDP & Decompression Theory.
As a Divemaster, you should also be comfortable with the following knots:
It will also be beneficial if you are also familiar with the ‘reef knot’, or ‘square knot’, – as this is sometimes the result of a sheet bend going wrong, and you need to be able to recognise this error.
The more comfortable you are with all this information before you arrive, the more you will be able to focus and the new information and spending your evenings preparing your teaching presentations for the next day. If you also need to spend your evenings trying to figure out how to calculate minimum surface intervals, or trying to remember the difference between convection and conduction, then you will be a lot more stressed during your training.
When you book an IDC with us, we will start helping you prepare straight away. We don’t just wait until you arrive and then try to cover all this during twelve days. Our IDCs are nice and relaxed when the students have revised the information that we send them at the time of booking.
If you would like more information about our PADI IDC programmes in Thailand, please feel free to send us an email – email@example.com
Harnessing the unique underwater skill set of the professional diving community, Adopt A Dive Site empowers dive leaders around the globe to engage in ongoing, local protection of our underwater playgrounds.
As part of our commitment to The Project AWARE Foundation’s flagship citizen-science programme, Dive Against Debris™, Go Pro In Paradise carries out monthly Dive Against Debris surveys during all our PADI IDCs at All 4 Diving Phuket, Thailand, reporting types and quantities of marine debris found underwater each month from our adopted dive site – Crystal Bay, Phuket. Our repeated marine debris surveys help improve the health of local ocean ecosystems. More importantly, the data we submit to Project AWARE provides much-needed information about marine debris to help drive policy change. Together, Go Pro In Paradise and other Adopt a Dive Site participants around the world build a strong and vibrant community of Dive Against Debris activists. Help us ignite a new wave of stewardship – join us!
We will be adding this to our IDC programmes, at no extra cost, to train the next generation of PADI Instructors to be Dive Against Debris Specialty Instructors, so they can train their future students to protect the ocean too. As a PADI Dive Against Debris Specialty Instructor, not only will you be able to teach this PADI Specialty course, but you will also be able to conduct Dive Against Debris Adventure Dives as part of every Advanced Open Water course that you teach too – you can create an army of ocean advocates of your own !
Mask clearing ? C.E.S.A. ? Neutral buoyancy ? No, for me it’s ‘breathing underwater’ from Confined Water Dive 1. Not only is it essential to stay alive, but it the basis of everything that happens underwater…
Quite often on an Open Water course this skill gets brushed over and taught too quickly. But if you spend the time explaining the importance and the effect of breathing correctly underwater, you might find that your entire Open Water Course will flow more smoothly. As an instructor, do not be too quick to place extra weight on the student’s belt when they can’t descend at the start of Confined Water Dive 1. Instead, take the time to explain the correct breathing pattern, and the importance of emptying the lungs on exhalation. Once the student divers does this, they should descend more easily, and now right from the beginning, they have understood the correlation between breathing and buoyancy.
Sometimes at the beginning of an Open Water Course, the students are a little nervous, and this can affect their breathing pattern too. Once underwater, I then take the time to teach the correct breathing pattern before attempting mask clearing or regulator skills. I treat this skill underwater as an introduction to the fin pivot. I ask them to lie down, practising equalising as they do so, then ask them to watch my hand as I coax them into a relaxed, correct breathing pattern. As they do this, I add little amounts of air to their BCDs to get them neutrally buoyant, so they are fin pivoting. If I find that i need to add a significant amount of air, then I will remove a little from their belts as they are over-weighted. Now the students will truly start to understand the importance of the correct breathing pattern underwater and the effect this has on buoyancy and position in the water, and your Open Water Course will be easier to teach, and more importantly, your students will be better divers…
The Project AWARE Shark Conservation course is now being taught at Go Pro In Paradise – both at diver level and at instructor level. Julie completed her IDC with me earlier this year, and now she has also completed her MSDT Prep – taking five Specialty Instructor Training Courses with me. Along with Deep, Digital Underwater Photography, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Wreck and Nitrox, Julie also wished to help spread the word about the issues facing the world’s shark population…
The AWARE Shark Conservation course is an excellent way for us to help educate divers about the plight of sharks. Being an AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Instructor gives us an idea platform from which to educate our students. The AWARE Shark Conservation specialty can also be taught with the Advanced Open Water course, as an elective Adventure Dive during that course.
During the course students learn why sharks are so important to the marine ecosystems, what the threats are to them, and what we can do to help…
As an instructor, this is a very versatile Specialty that we can teach in a variety of ways. We can teach the course as a standard two-dive PADI Specialty, with Knowledge Development. We can just teach the Knowledge Development side of this course, to raise awareness too. When we teach Knowledge Development only, we can issue a wall certificate to acknowledge the students participation and understanding. We also have the option of including AWARE Shark Conservation as an optional dive towards the Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver certifications…
During our AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor training course, we had a great day out on the boat. For this course, we completed a memorable dive at Shark Point, a stunning dive site situated between Koh Phi Phi and Phuket.
The dive started better than we could have imagined. Before we even started our descent, we had spotted our first shark. Looking down from the surface we spotted a leopard shark nestled on the bottom, relaxing at 6m. We made a nice, controlled descent, to avoid spooking it, and then went about our business of identifying the shark to species and gender. We also estimated its size, and had a look for any signs of ‘non-natural injuries’ to the shark.
As the dive progressed, we managed to find another two leopard sharks on the dive site. One of which we were lucky enough to see free-swimming about the reef. With its elongated caudal fin, a free-swimming leopard shark is a beautiful sight…
After such a fantastic day out on the boat, upon return to the dive centre we chatted about our findings, and then after a little bit of paperwork it was time to celebrate finishing the course. Congratulations Julie, on becoming an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor, and here’s hoping you go on to spread the word and help the sharks of the world in your diving future…
But what should you study ? You will be expected to arrive at the beginning of your IDC programme already well-versed in dive theory. At some point during the IDC, and again at the IE, you will have to pass the dive theory exams. You will examined on Physics, Physiology, The RDP & Decompression Theory, Equipment and Dive Skills & The Environment.
These subjects are touched upon during the PADI Divemaster course, but to become an instructor, you need to take your knowledge of these subjects to a higher level. PADI’s Diving Knowledge Workbook is an excellent study tool for this. The workbook is split into the five sections, and guides you to read specific sections of PADI’s Encyclopaedia Of Recreational Diving before tackling questions on that area of the theory.
You can also visit the Go Pro In Paradise website and check out the useful ‘study tools‘ section. Here you will find downloadable revision notes for each of the five dive theory subjects. You will also find links to three videos there. The videos are there to help you learn the three knots that you will also be expected to know prior to the start of your PADI IDC programme (the same three you learnt during your PADI Divemaster course…).
If you would like to know more about becoming a PADI Instructor in paradise, please feel free to e-mail and ask any questions that you might have…